Re: How did WWF afford to pay Mike Tyson when they couldn't afford Bret Hart
Bret Hart had a 20 years contract with the WWF, that he had just signed the year prior. Vince being in the financial crisis he was in, back in 1997 felt that Bret had already peaked and that his character was in decline(I think Bret was like 41 at the time). Feeling that Bret character wasn't as marketable as it used to be, Vince told Bret it would be best if he went to WCW and go after the offer that they originally offered him (WCW offered Bret $9 million back in 1996, but Bret declined it and signed the 20 year deal with WWF).
It wasn't a case that Vince couldn't afford Bret, it was that he didn't want to, because he felt Bret didn't deserved that much due to the decline in his character and the fact that he was past his prime. Mike Tyson on the other hand was a household name (a Mega-star you can call him) who was an icon in the Boxing industry and pop culture. So when the opportunity came to bring in Mike Tyson, I'm sure Vince did hesitate at all to throw cash at him, with the hope Tyson could pull a miracle and save the WWF.
Sorry to disappoint. I'm the PRIMERA.